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Rick Nissen



A star guard for one of the state’s most famous prep basketball teams, the unbeaten 1972 Miller Rustlers, Nissen went on to a stellar career at the University of South Dakota.

At Miller, the Rustlers lost only five games in his three years as a starter. In his senior year, Miller went 24-0 and beat the five largest schools in the state to win the Class A state title even though Miller’s enrollment had dropped below the “A” level (there was only Class A and B then). The 5-foot-11 Nissen was first-team all-state and the MVP of the state tourney. He also was selected as a prep All-American after his senior season. Years later, the 1972 Miller team was voted the South Dakota Team of the Century by a panel of sportswriters and coaches.

Nissen was a multi-sport standout at Miller. In football, he quarterbacked the Rustlers to undefeated seasons as a junior and senior. In track, he still holds many school records in the mile, half-mile and as a member of numerous relays, running a personal best of 4:19.7 in the mile and 1:57.3 in the 880. He also was instrumental in numerous conference championships as a member of the cross country and golf teams.

Heavily recruited by colleges for three sports, Nissen decided to concentrate on basketball at USD.

At USD, he started all four years for the Coyotes and was a two-time all-North Central Conference selection. He  averaged double digits in scoring all four years, including 18.7 as a senior, when he earned all-district honors. Among his career highlights was a 32-point effort that powered the then-NCAA Division II Coyotes to a 79-75 win at Division I Iowa State. He ended his career with 1,452 points, then the third best total in school history. As good a scorer as he was, he was even better as a ballhandler and passer, setting the school record for career assists (598). He averaged 14.5 points and six assists a game for his USD career. He was an academic All-American in 1975 and ’76.

Nissen is a member of the South Dakota Basketball Hall of Fame and is also in the Miller High and USD halls of fame.








































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